Study Tips for Graduate School Admissions Tests

By Andrew Mahinay

Studying for graduate school admissions test is no walk in the park.

If you are interested in graduate programs such as medical, dental, or law, you are eventually going to have to take an admissions test. Medical school requires students take the MCAT. Dental school requires the DAT. Law school requires the LSAT. These admissions test differ in subject, but they all have one common factor: you MUST study for them if you want to be accepted into graduate school.

As mentioned, the LSAT differs from the MCAT and DAT in various ways. The LSAT is composed of logical reasoning, which tests the applicant’s ability to critically analyze long and short passages, while the MCAT/DAT are more subject driven.

Although these tests differ in subject matter, studying for them is quite similar.

I spent last summer studying for the LSAT. Before opening the study materials, I knew the LSAT score would weigh heavily on my chances of being accepted into law school. It was crucial for me to get a competitive score. The highest score for the LSAT is 180 and a 165 is extremely competitive. Knowing this, I sacrificed my entire summer to study almost everyday for prolonged periods of time.  

In the future, whether you study for the MCAT, DAT, or LSAT, it is imperative you know the following:

First, dedication and motivation are key to overcoming any test. Make sure you create a game plan. Make sure you dedicate hours of your day to focus on your studies. Implement a study schedule that fits your studying personality, so you don’t get burned out. I would study from 12-4 p.m., take a break from 4-5 p.m., and then finish off the day studying from 5-9 p.m. In addition to dedicating time, remind yourself of why you are studying for the test. Is it to help cure people of cancer? Is it to repair broken jaws? Is it to protect people from injustice? Make your motivation known.

Second, living a balanced lifestyle is of utter importance. After studying from Sunday to Friday, I would take Sabbath off to relax and recharge. You want to make sure you take plenty of breaks. When on break, I strongly recommend you do some sort of exercise to boosts confidence levels, which has a direct effect on test performance. Other options include watching a movie with family, getting a coffee with a friend, exploring a city close by. Whatever the activity, make sure it has nothing to do with the test.

Lastly, and the most important of all these tips, is to trust in God. As a student, there is only so much you can do. There are only so many practice questions you can go over. There are only so many hours in a day you can dedicate to study.

However, as students, what we can do is apply ourselves through dedication, to find motivation to wake up every morning to study, and to live a well-rounded lifestyle. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to do your part and to rely on God that He will do his.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

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